Submitted by Chris Webster on Sun, 2007/02/25 - 07:24
Science: A History

When their fuel runs out, ... stars collapse dramatically in upon themselves, and as they do so, enormous amounts of gravitational energy are released and converted into heat. One effect of this is to make the single star shine, for a few weeks, as brightly as a whole galaxy of ordinary stars, as it becomes a supernova; another is to provide the energy which fuses nuclei together to make the heaviest elements. And a third effect is to power a huge explosion in which most of the material of the star, including those heavy elements, is scattered through interstellar space, to form part of the raw material of new stars, planets and possibly people.


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